• Jan 14, 2009
Click above for a high-res image gallery of the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series

That's the way it goes with fashion: it's on the runway in Paris in March and in a bucket at Big Lots by September. Mercedes-Benz' in-house tuning arm, AMG, has decided to turn with the popular tide and call time on horsepower brinkmanship, with the division boss saying, "We are going to use other ways to extract better performance, including weight saving, engine optimization and alternative technologies."

What's the new fashion? Getting the most out of the least. AMG is going to do that by losing weight, installing tech like the SL63 AMG's wet clutch gearbox on the coming E63 AMG, and possibly re-engineering Mercedes' diesel, hybrid, and four-cylinder engines for AMG duty.

Not too long ago, imagining an A-Class AMG would have been beyond comprehension, but this is the future. We just hope everyone has thought through the consequences: with the reins being pulled on increasingly powerful motors, this is going to put a lot of horses out of work. And that makes the possibility of an equine industry bailout something we can't rule out...

[Source: Autocar]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 58 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      When electric cars get popular and they are charged by renewable resources, I can't see what would stop a HP (or torque) war. Zero emissions, zero restrictions!

      This is the real reason for working on electric cars, people. Not for saving the planet (though its a nice side-effect), but no restrictions I can see on making cars more and more powerful!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, I imagine that over the years that batteries will become a lot more advanced, as well as super-capacitors and fuel-cells (and fuel-cell storage). 25 years in the future when electric cars are a lot more common, the technology will be drastically different. Right now, the 2 seater elise-based Tesla Roadster weighs 2700 lbs and does the 1/4 mile at 12.7. In 10 years, it will be quite better, in 25 it will blow your socks off.

        But battery weight will always be an issue. With performance cars, I can see a possible solution: two motors or in-wheel electric motors. The back ones will be powerful, and the front ones will be much less powerful. For everyday driving, an average sedan will only use the front ones, drawing only 30kw or whatever, and draw a lot less current from the batteries.

        I am not an electrician, but this is possible, right?
      • 6 Years Ago

      I guess Bentley,Rolls,Jaguar etc will continue offering high powered cars even if Mercedes does not.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What a f###king mess up world we live in, the the green global cooling fanatics are taking everything away that a working man dreams of. Belive me, it is not four cylindery or electric.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It was bound to happen. The HP on some of these "luxury cars" is redunkulous. How much of that power is really usable anyways? Most of these filthy rich folks that buy them either just buy them to sit in their garage, drive it as a boulevard cruiser, or if they do go fast, its in a straight line from a red light or a top end freeway burst. A very small percentage actually make use of the full potential of these cars.
      Plus, the EPA and world govt's are starting to put a serious clamp down on emissions. I love high-powered cars and their mystique, but I'm all for ending this ludicrous hp war in lieu of lighter weight, more efficient movement. How about 300-400hp proper sports coupe or sedan weighing around 3000 lbs instead of 2-ton boats with 550+hp which can be just as fast.
      Its inevitable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      if it means that cars are finally going to start losing that extra 1000 pounds they put on in the last 10 years, I'm all for it...
        • 6 Years Ago
        are you talking about the 1000 lbs of mandated pedestrian safety equipment, airbag technology, or laminated side glass? Or are you talking about the backseat DVD players, gigabyte hard drives, and heated&cooled seats? Automakers didn't voluntarily add hundreds of pounds to cars... governments and customers did.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, automakers also voluntarily added hundreds of pounds. The government never mandated that the Accord grow from compact to full size and yet it did.

        When the 2008 Civic is larger than a 1992 Accord, it's going to be heavier than one too.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "No, automakers also voluntarily added hundreds of pounds."

        Thank you! Some one gets it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is sad and unncecessary.

      Brawny powerful cars don't have to be bad for the environment, or induce consumer fears of spending lots of cash for fuel. If they're using alcohol fuel that is.

      Alcohols emit far fewer outputs that cause acid rain and ozone smog. They burn clean with NO smoke, soot, or particulate emissions (no conventional smog!) They are non-carcinogenic and non-mutagenic (unlike gasoline). If spilled or leaked, alcohol biodegrades readily within a day if not hours into safe components - no more Exxon Valdez killing wildlife, no more gas station leaks ruining aquifiers, no more recreational waterways fouled with rainbow colored floating smears. And ethanol is carbon neutral, as are many methanols, a huge difference with gasoline.

      And alcohols are not only cheap now, but will be cheap indefinitely because the resource base for alcohol is almost unlimited. Ethanol can be made from the sugary or starchy portions of a long list of plants, which can be grown all over the world. And methanol is even more diversified, since it can be made from coal, natural gas, or any biomass without exception, including crop residues, weeds, trash, sewage etc. (Today, with no further research). This prevents anyone from "cornering" the market and choking production to raise prices, as is done with oil. If anyone tries that with alcohol, he'd just be undercut. So while alcohols have somewhat less miles per gallon, drivers would enjoy more miles per DOLLAR.

      Finally, of interest to horsepower and racing fans, alcohol fuel actually offers higher octane than even premium gasoline, and gives engines better horsepower. And it's safer in crashes, less likely to explode.

      All that sounds nice, but is it practical? YES - adding alcohol compatiblity to a car costs an automaker only $100, and the car can STILL run on gasoline like usual; it would be "flex fueled". If we mandated that flex fuel capability in all new cars sold in America, like seat belts, we'd have 50 million cars on the road that can use alcohol in just 3 years in the US alone. That produces the market share necessary for gas station owners to race to be first to offer cheap alcohol fuel to drivers before their rivals do.

      In an alcohol economy, we wouldn't have to feel guilt about revving a powerful rip roaring engine and vrooming off at exhilirating speed, and automakers could sell us vehicles we want instead of vehicles we feel we should buy. The fuel's clean, cheap, renewable, and doesn't fund crazies overseas.

      What's not to like? But we have to mandate it as a standard feature or it will languish as a niche as it has since the 80s (only 3% of cars sold have this feature and even they usually just fill up on gas since so few gas station owners devote a pump to a small market like that).
        • 6 Years Ago
        • 6 Years Ago
        Interesting link, "why not the LS2LS7?", but it is still by far the scientific consensus that alcohol is not carcinogenic, whereas it is settled that gasoline is.

        "Your whole argument falls flat since our current production of feedstocks for alcohol is made possible by massive purchases of nitrogen fertilizers derived from petroleum. This when you put alcohol in your tank, you're still consuming fossil fuels."

        That's like rejecting alcohol fuels because they are typically in a 15% gasoline configuration, like E85 or M85. You're still drastically slashing gasoline usage, effectively switching away from petroleum as the basis of our transportation system and our economy as a whole. Don't make the perfect the enemy of the awesome, especially when perfection doesn't exist.

        "I do support flex fuel capability."

        Really? So you support a mandate that all new cars sold in America be flex fueled? So what are we arguing about?

        "But right now the alcohol fuels we have provide no solutions to either CO2 increase in the atmosphere or energy independence."

        Completely, black-and-white, wrong.

        Again, burning ethanol is carbon neutral, and depending on the source (biomass, natural gas that would have been flared off anyway), methanol is too. That's a HUGE improvement.

        As far as "energy independence", you're right that despite an enormous amount of unused farmland and slack available, US corn farmers can't supply all our alcohol fuel needs were we to switch to an alcohol economy.

        That's a GOOD thing. That means that our farmers would have all the business they can handle with lots left over for Third World farmers desperate for income.

        So instead of sending hundreds of billions each year of our fuel purchase dollars (directly or otherwise given oil's fungibility) to the oil cartel and thus the Iranian nuclear program, Saudi funded madrassas, Venezuelan-spread narco-Marxism, Russian imperialism, and international terrorism ...

        we'd be sending a smaller but still considerable amount to peaceful farmers and trash recyclers - a VERY different situation that far from hurting our security helps it.

        "So saying alcohol is a free pass to make fuel wasting vehicles is not valid in my mind."

        Again, alcohol burns clean, is cheap and renewable, and doesn’t fund bad guys. Your thinking is trapped in the old, cramped, "must conserve gasoline" box - but that attitude doesn't apply with alcohol.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Non carcinogenic?

        http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2009/01/12/Alcohol_in_mouthwash_may_raise_cancer_risk/UPI-58671231779347/

        Your whole argument falls flat since our current production of feedstocks for alcohol is made possible by massive purchases of nitrogen fertilizers derived from petroleum. This when you put alcohol in your tank, you're still consuming fossil fuels.

        I do support flex fuel capability. But right now the alcohol fuels we have provide no solutions to either CO2 increase in the atmosphere or energy independence. So saying alcohol is a free pass to make fuel wasting vehicles is not valid in my mind.
        • 6 Years Ago
        burning ethanol isnt carbon neutral if the land used to grow the source was gained by chopping down and burning forest

        http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/02/08/biofuel-global-warming.html
      • 6 Years Ago
      So like... They should've said "the torque wars are over".

      I think people got over the sheer bhp/kW thing a while back, unless there are people who still think a heavy car with a bigger engine is better than a light car with an efficient engine.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The new Audi S4 and S5 Cabrio with 'Charged Six is probably a good way to go, slightly lower horsepower but less weight (especially in the front) leads to a better car overall, more environmentally friendly (let's not forget their CAFE obligations), although the the cost of the visceral thrills a big, high-revving NA engine delivers over forced induction.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't think that AMG is saying necessarily that they will CUT DOWN on power; they will simply NOT INCREASE, instead looking to weight-cutting measures for performance.
      I think the idea is a good one as is the idea of an AMG A-Class as long as it's RWD to compete with the proposed 1 Series tii.
      Oh, and FlashPoint, we all know you own an S550. Kindly stop reminding us.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Building lighter cars is hard to do with all of the safety regulations that need to be met for a US/Euro Spec car. Plus the fact that lighter+stonger material used = $$$, then the cost of the car jumps exponentially.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They article dosen't say that the cars wouldn't be cheaper.

        Also, any price jump would not be exponencial, If the price of even a $10,000 car went up by just a factor of two the price would be 100 million dollars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One step forward, one step backward.

      Need to ditch the weight and get a Clutch BUT... KEEP THE POWER!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The "other ways to extract better performance" listed, espicially weight savings, will yield better all around performance machines, even if they lose a few ticks in strait line acceleration.
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